What happened to me recently has so many possible titles, like ‘What not to say to people with adopted children’ or ‘Boundaries! Ever heard of them?’ ‘Stupidity. I hope it’s not contagious!’, ‘Words hurt more than you know’ and ‘The day I went mental in a store and knocked a woman out’ are contenders for the title.
There are so many possibilities, so many that would be apt. Too many to choose just one.
Emma and I were in a store, in the queue, about to pay. There was a woman behind us who started chatting to Emma. The usual ‘what’s your name? How old are you? Where’s your real mom’ kinda questions we all get asked in queues in shops, while doing grocery shopping.
Wait. What? Your child has never been asked that before? You’ve never been blessed by a stranger for having children? Oh! I get blessed all the time. Which is nice. I need all the blessings I can get.
‘You’ve given children like this an amazing opportunity. Imagine if they were with their real parents? Where would they be living? They would never speak so well!’
By rote I say ‘We’re all blessed to have one another. I can’t imagine life without Emma and her brother Ben.’
‘Oh you’ve got two! Wow! Is Ben her biological brother or from a different mom? Will you get more? Have you got children of your own?’
‘Yes I’ve got children of my own. Emma and Ben!’
‘No I know that. Have you got your own kids. Like white ones? And can I ask, do you love them as much as you’d love your own?’
Ok, hold up! No, you can’t ask. What you’re asking is rude and offensive and hurtful. I don’t ask you if you’d love your child more if she was prettier, or blonde with blue eyes. I don’t ask whether a boy would be more loved. I don’t ask a mom with a special needs child whether she would love a ‘normal’ child more. I don’t ask any of those questions, because it’s not ok. Because it crosses boundaries on every possible level. I know not to ask inappropriate questions because I’m not a moron.
My face, silence and clenched fist drew the attention of the woman in front me , about to walk to the cashier. She turned to me and suggested I go in her place. ‘It’s ok,’ I said ‘We’re fine!’
‘You’re not’ She said, ‘and you shouldn’t be.’
I kindly took her up on her offer.
Driving home, Emma was subdued, not herself. She’s normally singing or talking ’til my ears bleed. She opened her window and I asked her if she could please close it ………………. no response. ‘Emma can you please close the window?’
‘You’re not my real mom. I don’t have to listen to you!’
Thank you dear stranger….